Re: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?

Subject: Re: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?
From: "Kathi Jan Knill" <Kathi -dot- Knill -at- template -dot- com>
To: "Keith Cronin" <kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:36:01 -0500

I was subjected to a test for an interview once as well. I did not pass the
test. Does that mean that I am not a good technical writer who writes up to
senior tech writer standards, no it does not. What it means is that I don't
test well. It is not that I can't work under pressure, I've been meeting
deadlines for over 10 years. It is that I don't test well.

There is a BIG difference between being able to work under the pressure of
a deadline and to perform at your best on a test. If you think about it,
the pressure is doubled because the candidate is already under pressure.
But sometimes it is just a matter of a person not being able to test well,
no matter how much they know. And it is possible that it has nothing to do
with the pressure. Who knows...I'm not a psychologist.

I would suggest that if you are adamant about a test, may I suggest giving
something that the candidate can take home and either email, fax, or mail
back within the next day or two. That way, you can determine how the
candidate performs for a deadline.
In my opinion it is a much more accurate method for determining the tech
writers skills.

Just mho,
(But I do feel very strongly about the matter and would go so far as to say
that I will never take a test for an interview again -- there are plenty of
jobs out there, so I don't think I'd be doing myself a disservice by my
refusal.)

Kathi Jan Knill
Senior Technical Writer
Template Software, Inc.
kathi -dot- knill -at- template -dot- com
"You can only have two things in life, reasons or results.
Reasons don't count." `` Robert Anthony


----- Original Message -----
From: Keith Cronin <kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 9:10 AM
Subject: On-the-spot writing test during a job interview?


: I have been asked to be one of several people who will each individually
: interview the same applicant for a copy writing job at a software
developer.
: I'm the company's proposal writer, and have previously worked as a
technical
: writer for this company. The company is looking to me to help judge the
: applicant's "writing skills and creativity."
:
: What do you think of giving the applicant a writing test during the job
: interview?
:
: I had to take such a test for a previous tech writing job, cranking out a
: description of how to use a stapler, assuming no "stapling knowledge" on
the
: reader's part.
:
: The job in question here is a marketing-oriented copy writing job, NOT a
: tech writing job, but the applicant IS expected to be able to write about
: high-tech and/or abstract subject matter.
:
: I thought it would be a good idea to administer something along the lines
of
: "the stapler test," but a well-respected colleague has suggested that for
: people who "don't test well," it would apply unfair pressure (in addition
to
: the pressure inherent to any job interview), and could produce deceptive
: and/or potentially damning results.
:
: I tend to feel that EVERY pro writing job is a test of one's ability to
: write under pressure; for me such a test was a chance to "put my word
: processor where my mouth was." But I don't want to be unnecessarily harsh
on
: a job seeker.
:
: What do YOU (fellow TECHWR-L members) think? Thank you for your input!
:
: -Keith
:
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